There’re many job opportunities, and all that it takes to seize one is an excellent CV.
Think about it.
You’ve spotted a fascinating job, you’ve sent your CV, you wait for the response, but it never happens. This happens to many people. The reason is your CV was never good enough. Chances are it was even never read or archived. Maybe it was trashed straight in the bin! Yes, that’s right, however painful it is.
You should provide hiring managers with your detailed educational and professional history to decide whether to move you to the next hiring process level.
A formatted CV is essential as it makes your information clear, easy to read, and professional. A well-formatted CV makes it easy to scan and read by your recruiters.
In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about proper CV formatting in 2021.
Table of contents
What is a CV?
A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin word meaning “course of life.” It’s a document showing all the detailed professional experience, education, and accomplishments of an individual.
This document contains an overview of your education, career history, essential skills, qualification, professionals certifications, publications, among others.
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Here’s how you can format your CV
A standard format of your Curriculum Vitae should include the following
Include your full name, phone number, LinkedIn profile, your address, and email address. Outside the US, the contact information includes other personal information such as gender, marital status, date of birth, and sometimes children’s names. Your location will determine what information to include in your CV contact information.
This includes college and course studies. Include your graduation year, degree, and institution name. Arrange your academic history in chronologically descending order.
Here, you can list scholarships, departmental awards and honors, fellowships, and any membership associations.
- Dissertation /Thesis.
Include your dissertation and thesis title. You can include the name of your adviser or two to three sentences about your papers.
Include the relevant work experience. Start with your current job followed by your previous employment in descending order. List your job title, company name, and the dates you worked there. Below each job, explain all your responsibilities and achievements.
List any publications you’ve researched, where you worked, and your co-authors. Include a full citation including date, summary, page, DOI number, and volume.
List any relevant skills you have not mentioned. List skills that match the job description. Include other skills such as language skills, administration skills, and computer skills.
- Membership and association
Mention if you’re a member of any professional associations. List your title. If you’re the board secretary or a board member, list down.
Please give at least three referees: their name, title, and contact.
The first two referees can be from your previous or current job. If you’ve not worked before, you can use your lectures as the referee.
The third referee should be someone who has known you for a long period, but it should not be a family member. Let your referees know they can expect a call from hiring managers concerning you.
Curriculum Vitae Format
- Full name
- Home address
- Email address
- Phone number
- LinkedIn profile
Optional contact information for CVs outside the US
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Marital status
CV Summary/CV Objective
Write a brief statement about your qualification and skills. Explain why you’re the best fit for the job and use the keyword from the job advertisement. Write what you have to offer and not your expectations for the job.
Start with your current job, then your previous job chronologically descending. Explain your responsibilities, duties, and achievements after every job entry.
Format your employment history the following way;
- Your job title
- Company name
- Dates worked
Include dates, what you majored in, training, degree, and certifications.
Format your education history the following way;
- Year of graduation (If you’re in school, enter the expected year of graduation.)
- Name of institution
List all skills relevant to the job you’re applying for, including computer skills. Make sure to include the skills that make you the best fit for the role.
Awards and honors
Hobbies and interests
The three types of CV formats
Chronological CV format
The chronological CV format is the most common and the one that hiring managers are familiar with. This type of CV mostly focuses on academic and professional experience. In this format, list your recent or current job at the top of your experience section. Do this moving down up to your oldest experience.
A chronological CV is best if you want to show your career progress and if you have consistent employment in the same field, you’re looking for a job.
This CV’s disadvantage is that if there’re gaps between your job experiences, they’ll be evident to your hiring managers. The chronological type of CV is not ideal if you’re planning to change your career paths, and you cannot hop for jobs using this CV.
The functional CV format
The functional CV format essentializes your skills, awards, and honors rather than your professional experiences. Here you need to list your relevant skills after your contact information. List your skills from the most relevant to least applicable. All your skills should be relevant to the job you’re applying for.
The functional CV format requires allocating more space to your skills, awards, honors, and qualifications.
This type of CV is ideal for that person who has large gaps in job experiences or has recently graduated and new in the job market, if they want to change career paths, or if you’re going to highlight a specific skill.
The functional type of CV is not suitable if you lack experience and if you want to show off your career progress.
The combination CV format
As the name suggests, this type of CV format combines a chronological CV format and a functional CV format.
This CV format gives enough room for details about your education and professional experiences and your skills and qualifications. This CV starts with a CV summary followed by a skills section or work experience section.
The combination CV format is suitable if you want to show off your skills and hide the gaps in your employment history.
It’s not ideal for a person who doesn’t have many skills to show or doesn’t have work experience.
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Tips for formatting your CV
It’s essential to make sure your CV is easy to read and follow. You can do this by using the right font and size. If you prefer san serifs (A font that doesn’t have serifs), fonts such as Ariel, Calibri, Tahoma, or Helvetica are great. Serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Bookman Old Style, Courier, or Georgia are also old school fonts you can use. San serifs fonts are easy to read by the hiring manager.
Go for a CV between one to two pages long, not unless you’re applying for an academic job. Don’t include all the details of your life in the CV to make it long. Stick to what is relevant to the job. Make it easier for recruiters to go through your CV fast and with ease. Sometimes recruiters don’t have the time to go through the whole CV; they’ll skim through your CV and decide whether to move you to the next hiring process level.
Use a one- inch margin on all sides and 1.0 or 1.15 spacing. Don’t leave too much white space or have overfilled pages. Always check your CV margin size.
4. Layout and consistency
Ensure your CV headings are uniform. Make them bolder, larger, or underlined. You can also bold your name and titles to distinguish them from others.
Always check your CV for grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and syntax before sending it to recruiters. An error-free CV encourages readability and shows professionalism. A CV full of grammatical and spelling errors puts off the recruiters, and they may not move you to the next hiring process level.
Avoid graphics on your CV, and keep it simple. Make your CV brief and relevant.
Tips for writing a successful CV
Your CV is the ticket to getting you an interview when applying for a new job. Follow these tips to ensure your CV is added to the interview pile and move you to the next hiring process level.
Presentation is key
Present your CV clearly and carefully by printing it on crisp white paper. Printing on a high-quality resume paper portrays professionalism. Never fold your CV. Use an A4 envelop when posting your applications. Make sure also to stick your essential information on the upper middle area of the first page. This is the first place where your recruiter’s eye will first fall.
Stick to two pages of your CV
Don’t include all your life history in the CV. Make it clear and concise without fluff information. Keep it short and sweet. Recruiters have lots of CVs, so it’s unlikely they’ll read everything on your CV. They’ll go to selected sections and make their judgment. So, stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper.
Write a custom CV for the role
Write a CV specifically to what the job entails. This may take more time than sending a generic CV, but it’s worth it. Highlight the skills and work experience relevant to the position that make you the best fit for the role.
Use professional language
Your hiring manager assumes that your CV language reflects the way you’ll communicate at work. Your CV serves as an example of your written communication skills. Ensure you write professionally and avoid using jargon. Use a free grammar checking tool like Grammarly to improve your writing skills.
Use a professional email address
Using unprofessional email can result in your CV getting closer to the trash bin. Email addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org don’t send a good signal to the hiring managers. Creating a new email will not take you long. Spend those few minutes and create a unique and professional email account. An unprofessional email address shows you’re not serious, even if your education and experience history say you’re the best fit.
Well- formatted Curriculum Vitae templates you can make yours
Writing a CV all by yourself can be a problematic and taunting task. It may be hard to keep a uniform layout and design.
That is why our builder takes care of your CV formatting. You only need to choose a CV that fits your needs, write the content and have your CV ready in the shortest time possible. Our CVs are compatible with Google Docs and Word.
In summary, here’s all you need to know about formatting your CV;
- A formatted CV is vital to provide your information clearly and professionally.
- A curriculum vitae’s standard format should include your contact information, education, academic history, awards and honors, dissertations/thesis, work experience, publications, skills, membership and associations, and referees.
- We have three CV formats; Chronological CV format, Functional CV format, and Combination CV format. Please choose a format putting into consideration its strength and weakness.
- Use the right font and size to make it easy to read and appealing to the hiring managers.
- Stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper
- Always check your CV margin
- Remember to check grammatical mistakes and spelling errors before posting your CV
- Write a custom CV for each role and highlight the relevant skills and work experience that make you the best fit for the position.